In the northern extreme of the San Mateo Mountains and almost entirely on their eastern slopes lies the little-known Withington Wilderness, a land of precious and often parched solitude. Elevations range from 6,800 feet to 10,100 feet atop Mount Withington, which marks the center of the western boundary. Mixed conifers (pine, spruce, fir) grow in the shady bottoms of the area's steep-walled canyons, giving way to a woodland of pinion and juniper as the ground becomes more open and drier and the vistas stretch eastward toward the Rio Grande. In the lowest land, near the eastern boundary, you'll find small stands of ocotillo. Many of the Withington trails are seldom used, promising solitude for the adventurous. Winters bring snow, and summers are often hot and dry. During the desert "monsoon" season, July and August, rainwater may flood the narrow canyons, but most of the year offers little or nothing in the way of water sources, wilderness visitors should bring their own water.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Withington Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
New Mexico Wilderness Act - Public law 96-550 (12/19/1980) To designate certain National Forest System lands in the state of New Mexico for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, and for other purposes